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Courtney’s El Dorado Royale Review (w/pics)


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#1 CourtneyV

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    Posted 31 March 2007 - 01:57 AM

    Alright, sorry for the extremely long review – just skip to the parts that interest you lol. You might want to keep in mind while reading this that I have never been to Mexico before, so I might be amazed by things that everyone else expects lol.


    The Gist of It
    I actually saw three resorts while I was in RM, including the sister resort to EDR (Azul Beach Resort) and EDR was BY FAR my favourite resort of all three. In fact, if EDR allowed children I would have had my wedding there in a heartbeat. There was amazing service, a relaxed atmosphere and it was a gorgeous resort.
    Everything that I read on Tripadvisor is so blown out of proportion. Go to this resort knowing that you’ll have a good time and you will.


    The Breakdown

    The Resort:

    I was blown away. We got to the resort at about 1am and the lobby was a great first impression, it’s beautiful at the night time. We were greeted with champagne, and a relatively quick check-in.
    All of the rooms are separated into buildings of about 20 rooms each, divided by three levels. Every room has a balcony with a hammock and most rooms get a nice ocean view.
    Our room was a Jacuzzi Jr. Suite (room 205), which was really nice – we never used the Jacuzzi though. The overall room was nice; the bathrooms were huge, with really big walk-in showers.
    Lol – just an FYI if you get a room on the 2nd or 3rd floors – the balcony door locks automatically. Numerous times people locked themselves on their balconies and threw their room keys down to an employee (or sometimes to guests) so someone could let them in. They also lock on the 1st floor, but if you lock yourself out you can easily walk back to your front door (assuming you kept your key on your person!)
    This resort has quite a span – we were on the side by the Casitas and my aunt’s room was all the way on the other end, we decided to walk to her room one day… lol, it’s a lot longer than we thought midday under the hot sun! We caved in and took a cart towards the end.
    My aunt had a swim-up Jacuzzi Jr. Suite. When I first saw the swim-up rooms I didn’t think it was worth the $100/day upgrade, but it didn’t take long for me to change my mind! As soon as you walk off the balcony you step into water and its pretty shallow (ankle deep) for a while, and then it drops off (with steps!) to about chest-high (sorry, I don’t remember exactly how deep). I LOVED the swim-up rooms, it was nice to just enjoy your room and dip your feet in the water at the same time. To me its worth the upgrade.

    I should say that when I was there the resort was at 100% capacity , but not for one second did it feel like it. I think there are something like 7 pools – one main, entertainment pool and 6 all around the rest of the resort. We had a pool right outside our room (about 10 feet in front of our balcony) and it was hardly ever occupied – the busiest it got was 5 ppl chillin’ by the pool. We could walk the paths in front of our room to the lobby (about a 10 minute walk) and run into a small handful of people.



    The Beach and Ocean:

    Let me settle some of the rumors! Yes, you can swim at EDR, but the GIANT sandbags make it a little less fun. The sandbags are there to rebuild the beaches after the hurricane, and yes, they’re an eyesore – but get over it, there is nothing they can do about it. Also, if you choose the gazebo for your ceremony location, there are no sandbags here, so they won’t ruin your pictures.
    I had read ahead of time that getting a beach lounger was like war – this is completely untrue. Like I said before, we were there when the resort was completely full and the beaches seemed like they were half-full, or less.


    The Service:

    AMAZING service. These are the nicest people I have ever met, and it actually feels like they genuinely care how we feel. A lot of the time they would share jokes with guests… or some of our waiters would help us learn how to pronounce our meals in Spanish when we ordered them
    For the week that I was there I did get some favourites. At Jojo’s restaurant I had a favourite waiter named Mateo, he was there lunch and dinner. At Cocotal my favourite was Erick, we only saw him there for breakfast I’m not sure if he was there for other meals (or if he was at a different restaurant).
    A lot of the staff learn to remember you. There were people there that remembered me and I didn’t remember them! I was impressed with how many of them remembered us.
    For whatever reason the only “rude” people (and they weren’t even that rude – but in comparison to everyone else they were!) was at the general gift shop in the lobby. However there was this lady in the artsy gift shop in the lobby that went through incredible lengths to help us… I had bought a guitar for Aaron from PDC and she offered to bubblewrap it for us at no cost so it could make a safe trip home. When we offered her a tip she wouldn’t accept it, but my family is stubborn and she got her tip!

    I'd also like to make a note on the service my aunt received. My aunt is legally blind (cane and all), and stayed in a room by herself. These people made sure her vacation was just as great as ours and went well out of their way for her. At one point, my aunt (who loves James Bond) asked for a regular [James Bond] martini at the martini guy - she wanted to hear that it was "shaken and not stirred", so the bartender shook it extra hard by her ear so she could have the full James Bond experience. She found that service everywhere she went.

    The Food and the Reservation System:

    Ok, if you’ve read anything about the reservation system – it’s true!! We read pretty negative things about this on Tripadvisor before we left so we were prepared.
    Someone gave us a tip before we left to book our meals for the first 3 nights (which is the maximum amount of reservations they’ll take before you check in), so we sent an e-mail with our requests. We did get our requests confirmed; however when we went to our chosen restaurants the reservations had been mixed up. Not a huge deal, they still let us eat there, so w/e.
    For all remaining reservations you book through your concierge. We had Ruth who was relatively new to the resort (I think she said only a few weeks), but she was very friendly and helpful. Our first three days there we couldn’t seem to track her down though – she wasn’t in her “office” (the room right outside our building). Still, not a big deal – someone is almost always in there during the day so you can still book everything… but I would HIGHLY suggest you book with your concierge.
    IMO, this reservation system needs to be changed. We ended up going back a few times to confirm that our reservations had been made (as promised, but not always executed properly). Get the print out for all of your dinners – some restaurants ask for it, others don’t, but get it anyways. At the end of our vacation we mentioned to Ruth that this was a huge hassle and she said management was working on it, with the chance of eliminating the system all together, which I think would be best. The restaurants were very rarely full – only the night at Jojo’s was full when we went.
    That’s another thing – I’d read this before but thought people were over exaggerating, but there were a few times we went for lunch (where there is no reservations taken) and they made us wait for 20 or so minutes for a table when there were easily a dozen that weren’t occupied. I’m not sure what the reason is, but w/e – it was weird but we got over it.


    Ok, on to the food. I don’t have a lot to say about it. We never had any bad experiences, but there weren’t too many meals that were “to die for”. The food was good, not great – but we are a pretty demanding family when it comes to food!! One thing that surprised me was the room service burger (Mesquite Burger). We got to our resort super late when we checked in, so we ordered room service before we went to bed. Omg, this burger was SO good – normally I try to have meals that I don’t get at home, but this was pretty good! Most of the food at Jojo’s was good, I think that was my favourite restaurant.
    We went to the Fondue Restaurant (La Fondue) one night. The concept is really neat. Each course is eaten with a fondue. The quality of food was OK there though. We tried it the once and it was fun, but I probably wouldn’t make an effort to go back.
    Also, there was an Asian restaurant that I can’t remember the name of off the top of my head – this place was really good too.

    Ok, on to the food. I don’t actually have a lot to say about it. We never had any bad experiences but there weren’t too many meals that were “to die for” either. The food was good, not great.
    El Cocotal Restaurant – We went here every morning for breakfast. As I mentioned above, we had Erick most days and he was great. They have a buffet and a menu. Most days we did the buffet which was ok – they could have had more variety, but it was still pretty good. We did have dinner here once on Gala night – which I don’t remember too much about… it was on our last night and I was sad lol. I do remember that I had the asparagus soup – sounds gross, but it was really good.
    D’Italia - It was a good Italian place, I don’t remember too much about it (sorry!), but I do remember liking it.
    Kampai – This is a little Asian influenced restaurant located in the casita section. This was one of my favourites. FYI – if you think you’re too full and you’ll “just order the fortune cookie for dessert”, think again – it’s huge! Lol
    Jojo’s – By far the most popular restaurant. Its located right by the ocean, and is really pretty at night time for dinner. This is another one of my favourites. The food was really good for all meals. Also, right on the beach next to Jojo’s they have a candle light dinner every night which was really pretty (but costs extra $$).
    La Fondue – We were really excited for this restaurant. It’s a really neat concept. Each course is eaten with a fondue of all sorts, which is shared among the table. We had a swiss fondue which was served with beef and veggies. For dessert we had the caramel w/fruit. It was a fun idea, but I think this was my least favourite restaurant in regards to quality. It was good to try – and I suggest you do – but I wouldn’t go again if we stayed at EDR in the future.
    Rincon Mexicano – is located right next to Fuentes (on the far side) and was like a little hidden gem. It was really good, and off to the side as it is hidden behind Fuentes so it’s pretty quiet.

    We never ate at Fuentes and I don’t remember anything about La Isla!


    __________________


    As for scheduling excursions…

    When we tried to schedule for the free shuttle to Playa Del Carmen we were told it was full for the next few days – we did manage to get on the shuttle on our last night there. They hold 15(ish) seats for the people staying in the Casitas until the day before, then they release it to everyone else. Even when we tried to book for the next day it was full though – try to book this ahead of time, or pay for a taxi to go on your own time. The thing that got me was that our shuttle was completely booked, but when it was time to go it was only half full. You should also know that when the shuttle picks you up from PDC at 10 pm – it LEAVES at 10 pm, it waits for no one.

    We also booked a trip to Xel-Ha (could have easily spent two days there!)
    We traveled through Signature Vacations, and Kathryn, the rep at EDR could not bill this to our room and we did not have cash on us at the time (no ATM on site). We soon after found out that Lumas has a table in the lobby that sells trips to Xel-Ha and can bill it to the room. We booked with Rosaleo, who was amazing. We booked early in the week and he remembered us for our entire vacation, even long after we made the trip to Xel-Ha. He’d say “HEY _____ FAMILY!!!” when he passed us in the lobby. If you travel with signature and you talk to Kathryn, listen to only half of what she says. She’s really nice, but she over exaggerates for her bookings! I’d suggest you do your research ahead of time.



    Weddings:

    I didn’t go into too much detail about weddings while I was there. The WC did let us in on when a wedding was on there, and we strolled by to check it out. She showed us a few pictures. If you’re worried about the multiple weddings in a day, I wouldn’t be. We only ever saw wedding parties when they were in transition to their next location – the ceremonies and receptions are kept private and away from the general public. Again, if you choose a gazebo for your ceremony, there aren’t sandbags in the background so it won’t ruin your pictures.



    Just a quick Random Note:

    If you have a laptop and want to go on the internet, they do charge something like $8.00/30 minutes. HOWEVER, when we went into the Martini Bar (in the lobby) we were able to connect a few times to the Karisma Executive Network, but it didn't always work and the connection was pretty low.



    Alrighty, I think that’s all I have to say about EDR. Although I seem to have plenty of negatives in this review, it really was my favourite resort. I will definitely be returning. My overall experience was really great; we had amazing service, good food, and a really relaxing vacation. This resort is really beautiful. If you don’t have children at your wedding, I’d recommend it.


    Time for pictures!!

    This is the view from the back of the lobby
    Click the image to open in full size.


    The view from our room. We had the pool, then the "Health Bar" and the ocean in front of that.
    Click the image to open in full size.


    Swim-Up Jacuzzi Jr. Suite (I think my aunt was in 5205)
    Click the image to open in full size.


    To give you an idea of how deep it got (say hi to my mom and my aunt!). If you followed this around, it'd take you back to the main pool.
    Click the image to open in full size.


    The wedding chapel at EDR. I would have gotten a shot of the inside but there was a wedding in progress, I thought it'd be rude! Also, I have a shot of the gazebo, but I can't find it right now - I'll try to post it later.
    Click the image to open in full size.


    Anyways, for any of you guys who are thinking about this resort as a potential for your wedding - you can PM me if you have questions. I'm sure I forgot to mention some things. I'll do my best to help! :)
    Happily Married since May 9, 2008
    Proud Mama to Evelyn Eileen since June 8, 2010

    #2 ~Melissa~

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    Posted 31 March 2007 - 02:12 AM

    I love it!!! It looks like a nice resort that's fr sure. the chapel looks cute. Is that where your wedding will take place or are you doing a beach ceremony?

    #3 CourtneyV

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      Posted 31 March 2007 - 02:13 AM

      I won't be having my wedding there since they don't allow kids, otherwise I would have.
      Happily Married since May 9, 2008
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      #4 ~Melissa~

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      Posted 31 March 2007 - 02:17 AM

      How big is your guest list? I think I only have 2 kids comming (my sisters). Kids are considered anyone under the age of 12 right?

      #5 CourtneyV

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        Posted 31 March 2007 - 02:24 AM

        Guest list is pretty small 20-30 ppl, but maybe about 10 kids. Hmm - worth double checking, I thought the WC at EDR said they had to be 18+, and they make NO exceptions for weddings if the kids want a day pass.

        Its ok, I'm actually really happy with Dreams Los Cabos (I'm following the trend! ) - I just thought I'd post this review since EVERYTHING that I read about EDR on Tripadvisor was so negative, it's not at all like that.
        Happily Married since May 9, 2008
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        #6 ~Melissa~

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        Posted 31 March 2007 - 02:28 AM

        Yea you have to be really careful with any of those reviews... everyone is different and some people are just so damn picky. i can't believe some of the comments that come out of people's mouths. Insanity comes to my mind when they start complaining about every little nick knack.

        #7 *JillD*

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          Posted 31 March 2007 - 10:27 AM

          Thanks for posting this Courtney, we are going to EDR for our honeymoon! I'm glad to hear you had a great time. We splurged and spent the money for the swim up casita, which is crazy, but steve really loved the idea. Did you get to see any of the casitas while you were there? I'm glad to hear they have a van that goes to PDC because I know I want to go there.

          #8 EDYTA

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            Posted 31 March 2007 - 12:28 PM

            Courtney - great review I love the EDR but it was way to expensive for us to get married at especially for the time of year we were looking at..like 3500 per person...dont think anyne would of came to that...

            btw what part of calgary do u live in? I jus moved here a month and a half ago to bridgeland

            #9 TammyWright

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            Posted 31 March 2007 - 01:26 PM

            courtney, i am so glad you liked EDR. it is a great resort.

            didn't you LOPVE xel-ha!!!? i had such a good time there and recommend it to everyone. it is a great place for a group outting because it suits all ages. it sounded just ok at first but really is a blast!

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            #10 CourtneyV

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              Posted 31 March 2007 - 08:13 PM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by jilly76
              Thanks for posting this Courtney, we are going to EDR for our honeymoon! I'm glad to hear you had a great time. We splurged and spent the money for the swim up casita, which is crazy, but steve really loved the idea. Did you get to see any of the casitas while you were there? I'm glad to hear they have a van that goes to PDC because I know I want to go there.
              I wasn't actually in a casita - my cousin was, and she loved the room. I only saw the outside of it lol. As for PDC - like I said, they keep seats for people staying in the casita section, but my casita-staying cousin ended up trying to book and couldn't b/c it was too full, so make sure you book early.

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by EDYTA
              Courtney - great review
              courtney, i am so glad you liked EDR. it is a great resort.

              didn't you LOPVE xel-ha!!!? i had such a good time there and recommend it to everyone. it is a great place for a group outting because it suits all ages. it sounded just ok at first but really is a blast!

              OMG, Tammy I LOVED Xel-Ha. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a blast. We could have easily returned to Xel-Ha multiple times in the week, we didn't see even half of it! There really is something for everyone. We did snorkeling, and the lazy river (which really wasn't lazy, we pretty much had to paddle the whole way down lol), and we chilled in the hammocks for a while. I really wished we could have seen the rest of it, but that just makes for a good excuse to go back!
              Happily Married since May 9, 2008
              Proud Mama to Evelyn Eileen since June 8, 2010




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